Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Vulnerability and Resilience of Refugee Women and Children

Mwenyango, Hadijah; Palatttiyil, George


Hadijah Mwenyango

George Palatttiyil


N.T. Tan

P. Shajahan


Although migration is often perceived as an immediate response to humanitarian crises, people affected by forced displacement face significant risks and vulnerability. Drawing on mixed-methods research findings from Uganda’s Nakivale Refugee Settlement, this chapter examines the conceptualisation of vulnerability in refugee spaces and provides possibilities for recovery through strengths and resilience perspectives. The findings illustrate the key physical threats, limited social networks and community support, economic difficulties and poverty, remoteness and isolation, and structural oppression. Although refugees adapt and live, their lives paint a complex picture of human rights violations, exclusion and discrimination. Refugee protection should therefore not stop at settling them in gazetted spaces. Instead, owing to social work’s commitment to social justice, human rights and empowerment, a strength-based and resilience perspective obliges that in addition to reducing risks, social work specialists must support vulnerable populations in sustainably managing emergent risks. Individual refugees and communities must be supported in building resilience by removing obstacles to personal development and access to resources. Increased access to safe spaces for recreation, psychosocial and vocational training might empower vulnerable groups and expand their social networks. We propose rights-based advocacy, community awareness and advocacy for structural reforms to reduce vulnerability, oppression and social exclusion.

Acceptance Date Mar 25, 2022
Online Publication Date Aug 31, 2022
Publication Date 2022
Deposit Date Sep 16, 2022
Publicly Available Date Sep 1, 2024
Publisher Springer
Pages 59-76
Book Title Remaking Social Work for the New Global Era
Chapter Number 5
ISBN 978-3-031-08351-8
Keywords Migration, Refugees, Vulnerability, Resilience, Strength based approaches, Social Work, Women and Children, Rights
Public URL
Publisher URL


This file is under embargo until Sep 1, 2024 due to copyright reasons.

Contact to request a copy for personal use.

Downloadable Citations